OXFORD – Saturday, Oct. 8, brought Miami University President Gregory Crawford, Senator Bill Coley, and the American Legion Buckeye Boys State together in the Shriver Center to sign legislature bringing the Buckeye Boys State event to Miami University for the next five years.
The American Legion Buckeye Boys State describes itself as “an eight-day hands-on experience in the operation of the democratic form of government, the organization of political parties, and the relationship of one to the other in shaping Ohio government.
“Founded in 1936, Buckeye Boys State is the largest Boys State program in the nation with an attendance of over 1,200 young men annually, representing nearly 600 Ohio High Schools, several on-line High Schools, and the Home Schooled Community.
“The American Legion Buckeye Boys State program is sponsored by the Ohio American Legion, the largest veteran’s organization in the State of Ohio.
“At Boys State, young men learn about city, county, and state government through a non-partisan objective education approach. The young men also form friendships that will last a lifetime.”
In addition to teaching the high school juniors about government, Buckeye Boys State is meant to show them the experience of living in a college environment – they have chosen Miami University as the host for that college experience.
As explained by Jessica Greene of the Oxford Visitor’s Bureau, “This is a big deal because each year, Buckeye Boys will bring about 1,200 youth to Oxford in June. This is a prestigious organization and we are proud to be hosting them.”
This will be the first time Buckeye Boys State will be at Miami University since 1946.
During the ceremony, Oxford city officials were thanked for their enthusiasm and help regarding this agreement.
State Coley took the stage to vigorous applause. He began by commenting on how beautiful the university is. He even compared it to Bowling Green, noting that Bowling Green “looks like 1960s Eastern Europe.” The crowd laughed and Senator Coley explained that, “That University out there is Buckeye Boys State.”
He then compared Miami to OU, noting that Miami “rivals that [University] and exceeds it.”
He continued, “The other difference you’re going to see is the people – this is their culture. Patriotism and faith, love of Country and love of faith – that is Butler County. It’s funny, in Columbus I’m considered the worst politician because I make comments like I did with Bowling Green, but that’s because I’ll get 70 percent of the vote in [Butler County] because they appreciate people who have a passion and love of country.”
He said he hopes Miami is the home of the Buckeye Boys State for “the next 20 years.”
Crawford also made a few remarks. He started by pointing out that he is “the brand new president.” Saturday, Oct. 8 was his 93rd day on the job.
He joked he’s been getting “credit” for the Buckeye Boys agreement, which he is “proud to take.” However, he pointed out that the credit really falls to former President Hodge.
According to Crawford, Miami University and Buckeye Boys State is an organic collaboration because the purposes of the two are similar – learning, training, and respect.
He finished, “We couldn’t be more delighted to have you here today and we’re glad to have you for the next five years on campus. We’re most excited that this will be a mutually beneficial partnership and that we share a common mission to develop young men in terms of character and leadership for the future of our great state.”
Following the signing, Senator Coley stopped to talk to press.
“Buckeye Boys State is one of the best programs in the Nation to promote an understanding of government at the state level. They do a fantastic job of understanding our entire political system structure,” he said.
He admitted, “I’m a big fan because I went to it in 1977. “
When asked to explain Buckeye Boys State, he said, “You show up on Sunday. From the time you get there you’re separated into two political parties, they don’t call them democrats and republicans, they keep generic names. They’ll organize political parties. Then in a couple of days they’ll hold elections, and they’ll elect governor on down to the county commissions – state, county, and then city.”
He pointed out the same fact Greene did — this agreement is good for Miami University because of the potential students it brings.
“The great thing about the program is that it instills patriotism, and when you’re surrounded by this beautiful campus it presents a positive experience of Miami University to high school juniors and seniors.”
The young men will be on campus from June 11-18, 2017, ushering in the first year in many Buckeye Boys State is held at Miami University.